Another weekend over in Super Rugby and everyone should bow down to the Highlanders, who sit four from four after yet another victory in this year’s competition, this time away in Wellington against the Hurricanes. If you haven’t backed them on SuperBru yet, start doing so now.
Paying respect to the legendary Jock Hobbs, along with all the other Super Rugby fixtures and Six Nations fixtures across the globe, the away side’s power at close range was excellent once more, before the boots of Colin Slade and Chris Noakes saw the visitors home.
Elsewhere in New Zealand the Chiefs edged out the Brumbies thanks to the latest of tries from centre Jackson Willison, giving them a seven-point victory. The other Kiwi side in action was the Blues, who went down by 10 points to the Stormers in Cape Town.
The final match in South Africa saw a first defeat in this year’s competition for 2011 champions the Reds, throwing away a 17-point lead against the Sharks in Durban to end up on the losing side. Finally in Australia, the Cheetahs produced arguably the performance of the week to snatch victory in Melbourne against the Rebels, with substitute scrum-half Piet Van Zyl the hero with the winning try after the hooter. The other result saw new boy David Harvey grab a one point win for the Force against the stumbling Waratahs.
Moving on then to Round Five, where we start in Auckland with the disappointing Blues taking on mid-table Hurricanes. After narrowly losing to the leading Highlanders last weekend, the Canes have been far better than predicted pre-season and could pick up their third away victory this year. Canes by 6.
Next, we’re back at AAMI Park where Australia’s two struggling sides the Rebels and the Force go head to head. This will be a real scrap for pride as much as points, but after victory was stolen from them last weekend this should be a home win. Rebels by 4.
Onto Saturday where we start in Sydney with the Waratahs against the Sharks. A magnificent comeback last weekend from the Sharks saw them crush the current champions, so confidence will be high ahead of their first match on tour. The Tahs will be livid after last weekend’s narrow loss, so could bounce back. Tahs by 3.
The Crusaders then host the Cheetahs in what should be a first appearance for Dan Carter after injury. Looking for a first win in three matches, the home side will be hungry for this and should come up with the goods. Crusaders by 8.
Jake White’s Brumbies then take on the leading Highlanders in Canberra. The away side is on such a fantastic run at the moment it’s difficult to look past them, but the Brumbies will give them everything they’ve got. Highlanders by 5.
Next the wounded Reds head north to Pretoria to take on the Bulls. With their three options at fly-half all crocked, the champions will be forced to either field Will Genia at first five-eighth or opt for a more inexperienced youngster which leaves them heavily exposed. The Bulls pack will dominate. Bulls by 7.
Finally not far away in Johannesburg the Lions take on the touring Stormers. With the away side still unbeaten so far in 2012, they are definitely favourites. Stormers by 9.
This article also appeared on Sport24.